Share Your StoryThe legal team behind Ella T. includes attorneys from Public Counsel, Morrison & Foerster, and law professor Catherine Fisk.

PUBLIC COUNSEL

Public Counsel is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Founded in 1970, Public Counsel strives to achieve three main goals: protect the legal rights of disadvantaged children; represent immigrants who have been the victims of torture, persecution, domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes; and foster economic justice by providing individuals and institutions in underserved communities with access to quality legal representation. Through a pro bono model that leverages the talents and dedication of thousands of attorney and law student volunteers, along with an in-house staff of more than 75 attorneys and social workers, Public Counsel annually assists more than 30,000 families, children, immigrants, veterans, and nonprofit organizations and addresses systemic poverty and civil rights issues through impact litigation and policy advocacy.

Mark Rosenbaum is the Director of Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. He is the lead litigator in Gary B. v. Snyder, the Detroit literacy case. He has argued four times before the United States Supreme Court, more than twenty-five times before the Ninth and Sixth Circuit federal Courts of Appeal, three times before the California Supreme Court, and before the United States Court of Military Appeals.

Kathryn Eidmann is the Robins Kaplan Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project, where she brings economic justice impact litigation with a focus on education equity.  She has developed and led class action cases on behalf of low-income students, including a statewide challenge to lost learning time in high-poverty schools (Cruz v. California), and Compton Unified School District’s failure to accommodate students who are impacted by exposure to trauma (Peter P. v. CUSD).  Prior to joining Public Counsel, Kathryn worked for the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and as a law clerk for Judge Thomas B. Griffith of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  She is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Alisa Hartz is a Staff Attorney in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. She has worked on economic justice impact litigation cases, including educational equity cases and an action against the City of Los Angeles for failing to connect mentally disabled homeless prisoners with essential services upon their release from jail, as well as acting as a lead attorney on a gender equality case defending the rights of a transgender child to access education (Brar v. Heritage Oak).  Alisa served as a law clerk to the Hon. Dean D. Pregerson of the District Court for the Central District of California and the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  She is a graduate of Swarthmore College (B.A.), Brown University (PhD), and the UC Irvine School of Law (J.D.).

Elizabeth Hadaway is a Skadden Fellow in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project.  She has worked on economic justice impact litigation cases, including a criminal appeal challenging the imposition of mandatory court fees on indigent defendants without consideration of their inability to pay (People v. Dueñas), educational equity cases, and a case filed on behalf of a DREAMer challenging the arbitrary revocation of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (Ramirez v. Department of Homeland Security).  She also represents students in special education and school discipline matters.  Elizabeth served as a law clerk to the Hon. Sandra Lynch of the United States Court of Appeal for the First Circuit. She is a graduate of Harvard College (B.A.) and Harvard Law School (J.D.).  Prior to law school, she taught English for three years at a public high school.

Malhar Shah is a Harvard Public Interest Venture Fund Fellow in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. Malhar works on education equity cases, including a case on behalf of a transgender student whose school discriminated against her, as well as an immigration case filed on behalf of DREAMers and other plaintiffs challenging President Trump’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (Garcia v. Trump). Prior to joining Public Counsel as an attorney, Malhar worked as a law school intern and assisted on education equity cases, including Gary B. v. Snyder, the Detroit literacy case, as well as a lawsuit against the Compton Unified School District for failing to accommodate students who are impacted by exposure to trauma (Peter P. v. CUSD). Malhar is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside (B.A.) and Harvard Law School (J.D.).

Aida Palma Carpio is an organizer/researcher in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project.  She has worked on educational equity cases, as well as economic justice issues, including a campaign to end county practices of assessing and collecting juvenile administrative fees in California.  Prior to joining Public Counsel, she was an organizing fellow with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Centro de Información in Elgin, IL, developing a voter education and mobilization campaign to increase political representation of immigrant communities in the Chicago area.  She also has experience as a student organizer developing engagement programming and increasing accessibility of resources for first-generation students of color and students from immigrant backgrounds in higher education.  Aida is a graduate of Brown University (B.A.).

Will Lacker is an Organizer/Researcher in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. He supports the legal team on impact litigation cases with a focus on education equity.  Prior to joining Public Counsel, Will received a Fulbright-Garcia Robles grant to teach English in Aguascalientes, Mexico and previously taught at a Head Start preschool center for three years in Chicago, IL.  Will is a graduate of Brown University (B.A.) and Dominican University (M.Sc. in Education).

MORRISON & FOERSTER

Michael A. Jacobs co-founded and currently co-chairs Morrison & Foerster’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, where he leads complex litigation trial teams to success in intellectual property and life sciences matters.  Mr. Jacobs served as lead co-counsel in the landmark Williams v. California class action, which achieved a settlement in which the State undertook to address shocking conditions in California’s lowest-performing schools.

Barbara Barath is a senior associate in the firm’s Litigation Department.  In addition to her commercial litigation practice, she has dedicated much of her time to pro bono work.  In the High Sierra Hikers Association v. United States Department of the Interior case, she helped secure protections for wilderness areas in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  She has also helped secure substantial monetary judgments in favor of several plaintiffs who suffered constitutional violations, including unlawful searches and use of excessive force.

Jack W. Londen is a trial lawyer with 35 years of experience in patent litigation and complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts at the trial court and appellate levels. He has also handled many commercial arbitration matters arising from merger and acquisition transactions. He has led significant cases involving public education, civil rights, and other public interest matters.  Mr. Londen served as lead co-counsel with Mr. Jacobs in the Williams v. California class action.

Christopher Wiener is a senior litigation associate in Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office.  Mr. Wiener’s practice focuses primarily on complex commercial litigation.  Mr. Wiener also maintains an active pro bono practice.  He has secured multiple favorable monetary settlements for plaintiffs injured by police or while in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

LAW PROFESSORS

Catherine Fisk is the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at Berkeley Law School.  Prior to this, she served as the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and a member of the founding faculty of the University of California, Irvine School of Law from 2008 to 2017.

FATHERS & FAMILIES OF SAN JOAQUIN (FATHERS & FAMILIES)

Fathers & Families is a progressive, solutions orientated organization that works to address the varying needs of men, women, youth, their families and the community. By providing socially relevant and culturally relevant services, FFSJ develops local leadership while unifying the efforts of existing groups. Its mission is to promote the cultural, spiritual, economic, and social renewal of the most vulnerable families in Stockton and the greater San Joaquin Valley. Fathers & Families engages in programming, advocacy, and direct services designed to enhance literacy education and encourage positive youth development, and has devoted significant resources towards ameliorating the failure of the State to provide access to literacy.

COMMUNITY ASSET DEVELOPMENT RE-DEFINING EDUCATION (CADRE)

CADRE is a community-based, membership organization in South Los Angeles founded in 2001.  CADRE is led by African American and Latino parents and caregivers whose children attend local schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Its mission is to solidify and advance parent leadership to ensure that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live, seeking to effect policy change and mobilize political will through new parent participation models that preserve and expand the right to education for all South LA children and youth. CADRE works for grassroots system change by supporting South LA parents as the leaders in stopping the school pushout crisis in schools serving low-income neighborhoods of color in LAUSD. CADRE seeks to ensure that parents are welcomed as collaborators and as essential partners in their children’s literacy development, understanding that low literacy is the earliest warning sign of school pushout.

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